According to Abadinsky (2014), the cases have to be briefed and analyzed in concordance with the legislation norms. The case had occurred in Santa Ana, California in 1965. Ted Chimel was a suspect in the matter of burglary of a coin shop. Obtaining the arrest warrant police officers came to the place of residence of the estimated suspect. Ted Chimel was away while his wife had opened the door for police officers. After arriving of Chimel from work the officers showed the arrest warrant and asked the suspect to search the house. He refused the officers’ request. It is crucial to admit that the officers did not have a specific search warrant which became the main issue of the case. The result of the search was a number of coins and tokens that were seized as evidence. After Ted Chimel was convicted of burglary by the California Court of Appeal he pledged to Supreme Court on the grounds of unconstitutionally conducted search warrant (Chimel v. California). It is important to note that both courts had declared the arrest warrant ungrounded, but at the same time, on the grounds of possible reasons for the arrest, it was accepted as lawful. The main discussion was raised by the question of necessity of the search of the entire house of Ted Chimel without obtaining a search warrant by the police officers.
After the debates, the Supreme Court stated that the search of the place of Chimel’s residence was unreasonable. They had determined the specific incidents where the search would be valid and did not require a certain warrant. The judges stated that a police officer has reasons to search a person for the possible weapon that can threaten his/her life or the people around. An officer has also have grounds to search the area nearby an arrestee or the space where he/she can reach for the possible weapon. At the same time, it is not legal to conduct a search of the other rooms or the nearby territory without a search warrant. The Court had admitted that the officers received the denial from the arrestee for searching the house, but resisted the forbiddance and conducted the search at their discretion. In its own turn, the Supreme Court invalidated the decision of the Court of Appeal of declaring a search warrant reasonable. Ted Chimney’s attorney has admitted that the police officers decided to conduct the arrest at home of the suspect for their particular reasons (Chimel v. California).
The aftermath of this case was a specific rule that corrected and add some specific instructions of the search and seizure procedures, and namely that a police officer can search an arrestee and the nearby space for the possible weapon to prevent the harm. The search of the area not controlled by the suspect at the moment of arrest cannot be conducted without a specific warrant and have to be declared unlawful. This correction is nowadays known as a Chimel rule and is used in the similar cases to prevent the obstruction of justice and protection of the private property and personal space of the citizens.
Today there are still precedents when the police authorities may search the property without a warrant appealing to the probable cause of such actions. How do you think, in what circumstances search without a warrant will be legal?
What is your opinion towards the actions of Ted Chimel and the police officers?
Abadinsky, H. (2014). Law, courts and justice in America. (7thed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.
Chimel v. California. (1969). No. 770. Supreme Ct. of the US. Retrieved from: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/opinions.aspx